Roast Turkey

Making a roast turkey is very easy to do. We cook a lot of turkey in our household because it is a good source of protein and it can be used in a variety of dishes. Most of the time is spent cooking. It is not as hard as it looks.

Start by obtaining a whole bird and make sure it is completely thawed, first. Note its weight and plan for a cooking time according to the table below:

Net Weight Unstuffed (Hrs.) Stuffed (Hrs.)
14 – 16 Lbs. 3 – 3 ½ Hrs. 3 ½ – 3 ¾ Hrs.
16 – 18 Lbs. 3 ½ – 3 ¾ Hrs. 3 ¾ – 4 Hrs.
18 – 20 Lbs. 3 ¾ – 4 Hrs. 4 – 4 ½ Hrs.
20 – 22 Lbs. 4 – 4 ½ Hrs. 4 ½ – 5 Hrs.
22 – 24 Lbs. 4 ½ – 5 Hrs. 5 – 5 ½ Hrs.


Note: the actual cooking time may vary from this chart. The turkey will be done when the temperature in the deepest part of the thigh reaches 180° and when the juices are clear when the thigh muscle is carved (not reddish pink).

Shown below is a shot of the ingredients that I use to prepare the turkey before roasting: olive oil, sage, thyme, a brush and a cooking thermometer.

I will add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to a small dish (shown above), then I will add about 2 – 3 tsp of thyme and about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of sage to the dish.

Rinse the cavities of the bird with fresh water and clean them out. Remove the neck and giblet pack. Place the turkey in a roasting pan breast side up and arrange the neck and giblets in a free space in the pan.

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Brush the skin with the oil and spice mix. This will prevent drying of the skin and will add flavor. Optionally, lightly salt the skin after brushing the oil and spice mix.

Insert the thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

Shown below is a shot of the prepared turkey, ready to cook. By now, the oven should be ready.

Place the roasting pan and turkey in the oven so the thermometer is visible, close the door and set a timer for about 2/3rds of the amount of cooking time. In this case I am cooking an 18 lb. unstuffed bird, so I will set the timer for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

After the turkey has been cooking for about 2/3rds of the cooking time, cover the breast with a piece of aluminum foil to keep from overcooking the breast.

Close the door and set the timer for about 30 minutes less than the remaining cooking time. Check it at that time to make sure you don’t overcook. Continue cooking until it is done, checking it every 10 or 15 minutes. When the thermometer reaches 180°, the bird is done.

Shown below is a shot of the finished turkey. It is ready to carve.

After carving the turkey, you can make a delicious soup from the carcass. That way you don’t waste anything.

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